Student Athletes Juggle School and Sport

Today’s student athletes have more to juggle than ever, trying to achieve success at their sport as well as in the classroom.
Any sport at the collegiate level is just as demanding as the next. At Kent State, Mike Scott and Kira Meixner deal with many of the same aspects of being an athlete at the Division-1 level. Though they play different sports, Scott is a forward on the basketball team and Meixner is on the golf team, both are seniors and have found effective ways to balance school and sport successfully.
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“I have to be very organized,” Meixner said. “I like to be organized so it’s not difficult for me to do that, but I make lots of notes to myself about what I have to do because if I didn’t I wouldn’t remember.”
Both Scott and Meixner related their situations to a student who has to work along with school. A job, or playing a sport, becomes very time consuming and can sometimes rob one of his or her personal time.
“It’s like a student that has a full-time job,” Scott said. “College basketball is a full-time job.
“I have to stay in constant contact with my teachers and advisors,” he added. “That’s very important because it’s important that they understand the situation that we’re in.”
The situation athletes at the Division-1 level find themselves in is one that brings with it many hardships. Finding time to attend classes, spend up to three hours in practice, complete assignments and have personal time left over is a constant struggle each day.
“I feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done and have time for myself as well,” Meixner said. “That’s just one of the aspects that makes it difficult is not having enough time.”
“Being prepared for tests and turning in things,” Scott said, “it’s that simple.”
Scott added that having a communication flow is important for any athlete. If teachers and advisors don’t know what he is up to, it is much harder to gain their trust and succeed in the classroom.
Traveling is another aspect that affects student athletes. With away games and tournaments, athletes are gone for days at a time from school and their life.
“We play four or five tournaments in the fall,” Meixner said. “I’m away for three or four days at a time. It’s very time consuming.”
Many student athletes wonder what it would be like to not have to practice and travel for games. To come home after classes and have time to pick and choose when to complete his or her daily tasks is foreign to Division-1 athletes.
“I definitely wonder about it all the time,” Scott said. “I talk to the football players about it. We say, ‘Man I wonder how it would be just to not have practice.’ You just want to experience it for maybe two months. After that I’d be satisfied.”
“My teammates and I think about it,” Meixner said. “A lot of students work so I think that would take up a lot of time too.”
Though many college athletes wonder what the life of regular students is like, the consensus is that they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“By no means am I complaining, because I am very happy and fortunate to be on the team,” Meixner said. “I’m from Canada and we don’t have those kind of opportunities at home. Here I get my education paid for and I get to play on a golf team that has a wonderful coach and all the opportunities are available to me so I can further my game.”
Scott agrees, adding that he never thought he would play Division-1 basketball in the first place.
“I really never thought I was good enough to play D-1,” Scott said. “I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. I wouldn’t trade it for being just a student. I’m more than grateful to be in my position.”
The benefits that come with being an athlete help to ease the pain of lack of time and stress. Paid education is a major factor universities use to attract students, but others exist as well.
“Traveling, meeting people and playing the sport that I love,” Scott said. “This is what I love to do, and on top of that I don’t have to take out thousand dollar loans.”
As both Scott and Meixner are in their final year of college, both realize that, more than the benefits, being a Division-1 athlete has helped them grow as a person. By struggling to juggle everything that comes with their positions, the two have learned valuable life lessons that they will take with them when they leave Kent State.
“When I first came here I was very immature,” Scott said. “I’ve become a lot more tolerant of other people’s ways. I have a roommate on the road that I have to stay with. It teaches a lot of responsibility and it humbles you and teaches you a lot about growing in to a man.”
“I’ll have a lot of good memories,” Meixner said. “It’s been a wonderful four years and I don’t want it to come to an end. I’ll take with me a lot of great memories, great friends, relationships, and good lessons on how to use my time and how to be organized. Also, I’ll be a better golfer from what I’ve learned here.”
Whether it is an individual or team sport, collegiate athletes struggle to become the best they can be on both the field of play and in the classroom.

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